Saturday, June 9, 2012

Dealing With The Blog Problem

Apparently blogs have become something of a problem in this country. Differing from the largely compliant and press release dependent local news media that slavishly toes the establishment line as far as their reporting goes, blogs in the truer sense are something quite different. They are playing an increasingly larger role in their respective communities by giving voice to the kinds of inconvenient truths that would otherwise have gone unreported. In the process threatening the message control of local governments and the special interests they often represent.

Two examples of blogs that have made a strong impact in our region are Friends For Fullerton's Future and The Avocado Express. The Fullerton site recently mounted a much needed ballot initiative to recall three City Councilmembers, including a sitting Mayor, and in last month's elections prevailed by substantial margins. The Avocado Express is currently engaged in challenging a steep water rate increase in La Habra Heights, and apparently with considerable success. Both of these blogs are listed on our "Sites Of Interest" roll located over on the lower righthand side of this page.

Obviously there are those in Fullerton and La Habra Heights that would wish that their local representatives of Blog Nation would somehow disappear. As there are in this community, a few of whom worked quite hard to make something similar happen to this site, especially during our recent City Council elections.

That these kinds of blogs have become widely read and discussed in their communities is also a problem for certain established interests. The public acceptance of blogs of this sort becoming clear proof that formerly prevalent versions of popular reality are no longer as widely accepted as they were, thereby threatening the successful marketing of once privileged agendas and priorities. Effort that are oftentimes antithetical to the needs of the taxpayers whose resources these government enabled special interests greedily consume to achieve their goals.

Last month we posted an article entitled "New York State Legislators Attempt To Ban Anonymous Online Commenting" (click here). The target of their clearly unconstitutional piece of repressive legislation being blogs. Like any hidebound establishment threatened with being made to look absurd by a rising tide of unfettered and often critical public opinion, these legislators were clearly interested in creating a law that would silence people who had become a challenge to their continuing in power. And after all, how can you intimidate those who are safely hidden away from outraged power through the protection of their identities?

But now there is something else we should discuss. A friend forwarded me an article from a nationally read news site called Patterico's Pontifications (click here). The post is written by Patterico himself, and it deals with something called "SWAT-ting." Here is what he has to say about this disturbing development:

Some positive developments occurred yesterday for several of us who have suffered retaliation in our personal lives for our political views.

Yesterday Saxby Chambliss, U.S. Senator for Georgia, wrote Eric Holder to request a federal investigation of politically motivated SWATtings:

Dear Attorney General Holder:

I am writing with concern regarding recent reports that several members of the community of online political commentators have been targeted with harassing and frightening actions. Any potentially criminal action that incites fear, seeks to silence a dissenting opinion, and collaterally wastes the resources of law enforcement should be given close scrutiny at all levels.

According to these individuals' reports, these dangerous hoaxes, also known as SWAT-ting," have a perpetrator contacting a local police department to report some type of violent incident at the home of the target. It is believed that these callers utilize some of the less traditional telecommunications methods, including voice over IP (VOIP) to make the call appear as though it is coming from the target residence and to better hide the true identity of the caller.

In response, a dispatcher than sends a large number of understandably anxious police units, in a heightened state of readiness, to the home of the still unsuspecting target. The first that the target or their unsuspecting family learns of this false report to law enforcement is when they are shocked to see an abnormal police presence descending on their residence.

The use of SWAT-ting as a harassment tool is apparently not new, but its use as a tool for targeting political speech appears to be a more recent development. During the last year, some of the more widely reported cases of SWAT-ting have taken place against blog operators across the country, including Georgia. The emerging pattern is both disturbing and dangerous.

While these incidences are currently small in number, and have fortunately not led to any accidental physical harm, they are extremely concerning. The perpetrators appear to be targeting individuals who are vigorously exercising their First Amendment rights to political speech. As you know, these reported efforts to intimidate those who choose to enter the political forum and express their opinions are in conflict with the founding principles of our nation.

Regardless of any potential political differences that may exist, threats and intimidation have no place in our national political discourse. Those who choose to enter into that political discourse should not have to worry about personal threats to their or their family's safety.

While I am certain that local law enforcement is reviewing each of these instances, I am asking you to please look into each of these cases as well to determine if any federal laws may have been violated. Future targets of SWAT-ting, whether engaged in political speech or not, may not be so fortunate as to escape physical harm.

This story was picked up by ABC News, and you can link to the report on their site by clicking here.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

61 comments:

  1. Breitbart.com also has two articles dealing with "Swat-ing"

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  2. Thank God free speech lives; but so does thuggery.

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  3. We are watching you Crawford.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is paranoic to be paranoid about appearing paranoic.

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  4. This is very dangerous and will certainly lead to a violent episode unless the perpetrator (s) can be traced, arrested and convicted of assault by deceiving the PD SWAT. like a false fire alarm or 911 call.

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  5. How long do you think the SMPD response time would be on something like this?

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    Replies
    1. SMPD would respond in no time. And they'd bring Pasdena SWAT with them.

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    2. And here they still can't figure out if Matheson should be registered as a sex offender or not ...

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  6. Something similar to this has already been happening in our lovely little burg. Code enforcement flunky Volpe has been imposed on several in the community who have voiced their opposition to overdevelopment, usually folks who live alone or are otherwise defenseless against such attack. That has been occurring for years now. It's only a matter of time until the police, since they serve at the "pleasure" of the city council, are used to intimidate people like our blog mod/admin for exercising their right to free speech. Our democracy is moving towards a one-party system and the Democrats are a thinly veiled version of fascist dictatorship.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I must agree, by allowing one party rule(Democratic Party), we have lost any way to oppose the "party line" or change course. Expect the worst as a result of allowing this to happen.

      A good case in point is the state's bankruptsy courtesy of our oligarchy.

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    2. Great post, 8:43. Thank you.

      I know our moderator, John Crawford has been the victim of some pretty nasty threats. Also, many of us believe that the break in burglary of his home was politically motivated.
      There are a few people in this town that would like to see
      Mr. Crawford silenced.
      I pray that never happens!

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    3. You guys are nuts! Money is everything...the real green power. Haven't you heard that corporations are people too???????????????

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    4. The difference between people and corporations is people have hearts.

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  7. Oh, knock if off with the Democrats are this and the Republicans are that. Majorly useless on a blog site like this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vote Libertarian. Put a pox on the donklephant.

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    2. Gumby,
      Just vote Obama. Same result.

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  8. Hello Everyone, here is the latest on the protest against the unprecedented water rate hike plan in La Habra Heights.

    News article and video at the following link: http://www.insightoutnews.org/insights/la-habra-heights-county-water-district-continues-to-target-local-journalist

    Video at: http://youtu.be/2JV4Kq8f6HE

    EOM

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you George.

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    2. The youtube link doesn't connect. Is there a title of the vid I can search for?

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    3. Worked for me. Go to Youtube, and put this in the search box:
      be/2JV4Kq8f6HE

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    4. It's hard work, George! You're doing great but don't forget those "boots on the ground". Let us know how it goes. Oh, and a very nice wirtten piece in addition to the video.

      Delete
    5. Try going here first: www.youtube.com/user/GeorgeEdwardz

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    6. Cool video, George. Thanks for posting!

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  9. I just hope we're more like Rome in 400 than 470, with only a few more years to go....

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  10. I'll bet I know who's not having a good weekend... former Mayor Buchanan and his best bud Bart Doyle - destroying years of e-mails, correspondence and documents prior to Demerjian's visit in the near future. Anyone notice any big barbeques in their neighborhoods?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Might explain all the smoke we saw the other day. Carport my foot.

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    2. When is the next meeting of the CRA Successor Board? They'd better hurry up or there might not be anyone left!

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  11. Don't know about the CRA Successor Board, but Monday, June 11th is a Special Meeting of the Planning Commission and the only item is the Alfington! If you can't go, at least watch.

    By the way, this meeting is calendared on the City's web site on the L/H list of events and a single click gets you to the Agenda and Staff Reports! Why can't all of the meetings be listed on the front page in this format?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope the Planning Commission insists on normal procedures and resists the pressure to rush through this. I do not trust the City Manager to not try and sneak something past everyone.

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  12. I find the new website format cumbersome and annoying. The website designer missed the mark by a long shot.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Only cost the taxpayers $40,000.

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    2. Cumbersome? You are too kind. It's one of those designs that left user friendly out of the mix, showing all the nuts and bolts and leaving it up to the user to find the simplest path. You can tell how poorly it was designed by the fact that the library had to offer a class in navigation for it.

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    3. Perhaps it was intended to be that way.

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    4. User friendly would have required another $100,000.

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    5. One more reason why the UUT needs to go back to 6%. The city spends stupid money for stupid results.

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  13. Headline on Drudge Report this morning!



    Data mining 'reaches so far beyond anything politics has ever seen'...


    OBAMA WATCHING YOU

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    Replies
    1. FOX NEWS EMPIRE listening to you.

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    2. They are all watching us!
      BIG BROTHER comes to pass in 2012 America!

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    3. Yep. One side is as bad as the other.

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    4. Perhaps, but one side always seems to be waging aggressive war while the other is "left" to engage in relatively feeble rear guard actions.

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    5. I respect difference of opinion. I don't care for Banksters, Wall Street greed, thieves, and Bartsters.

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    6. C'mon, their both really the same party but with different brand appeal tailored to the consumer.

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  14. Once techniques develop to trace VOIP calls, right wingers will no longer be able to self-SWAT with impunity. The question is: How will they next call attention to themselves by playing victim?

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    Replies
    1. So it was you that called the Psychiactric Emergency Medical Services on yourself?

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    2. Quite a non sequitur there 10:05. Perhaps some bran may help.

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    3. If I have some I'll be certain to allow you to hang around.

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    4. Why not 9:53? That's what the progressive left has always done.
      The competition for "victim hood" out there is ferocious.

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  15. True enough, 10:45, but my BS meter registers quite a great deal higher when the wealthy and privileged claim victimhood than when the poor and down-trodden do.

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    Replies
    1. I am a victim of people talking about their victimhood.

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    2. My feelings are hurt. I'm suing.

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  16. Link to a story on Yahoo written by an AP newsie:

    http://news.yahoo.com/public-employee-pensions-face-rollback-calif-142616255.html

    Public sector pension reform is getting much attention these days.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My retirement plan is the California State Lottery.

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    2. Funny how the sanctity of the contract (and the vested property rights within) don't apply to the little guy. One can only wonder what other Amendments to the US Constitution the voters of San Diego and San Jose can be persuaded to suspend.

      Prediction: Unconstitutional: Amendment V & Equal protection Clause; 6-3 (Scalia, Thomas, Roberts dissenting.)

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  17. Sorry 12:50 - not mentioned in the US Constitution! (Except in the formation date.) The Declaration, on the other hand....

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  18. The main surprise about SWAT-ting is that it hasn't been done yet here in Sierra Madre. There are a few of us who have experienced low-grade police harassment, and other "official" acts of harassment by the city government and political establishment as a result of taking a stand. They start by denigrating your commentary by calling you "gadflies" and then it escalates from there.

    I just loving these people sputter on and on about anonymous postings. They want names for two reasons: 1) They don't have to think about what's being said. If they know who said it, they know what to respond even if (or maybe, especially if) they don't understand the point being made; 2) They know who to target for stepping out of line.

    Thank havens our police don't have SWAT readiness or they'd be doing that, too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's good to be king...or IS it? The thrill of a game is getting there & once you get there someone smarter, dirtier, better, richer etc. is there to bring you down. Everything has become a reality show glamorizing the lack of principles & morality. The seven deadly sins have become something to achieve, however for every negative, popular as it's become, there will always be someone willing to spread the truth. Only the truth will really make you free. It's something we will always have to fight for. It's in our DNA. The Universe is made that way. We're only human. Nothing special.

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    2. Question....do you think an atheist is just angry at God and therefore, has to deny His existence equal to their disappointment in God???

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    3. Good question, I don't know. But being an atheist must take a lot of work.

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  19. No one is born believing in god, it is a learned behavior, atheists are the true believers, believe in mankind not some fairy tale.

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    Replies
    1. That is just the point. Atheists are true believers. But they don't know.

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